Socioeconomic factors play a role in detection, transmission and treatment of HIV

Published: 28 February 2023

Those living in unstable housing conditions, such as hostels or informal dwellings and those who had not completed post-secondary studies were more likely to contract HIV in South Africa, according to a new study from McGill University. A team of researchers based at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) has reported survey results that show socioeconomic factors play a critical role in the detection, transmission, and treatment of HIV in regions of South Africa. “We found that factors such as education and dwelling situations still impact HIV infection,” said Cindy Leung Soo, a recent Master’s student who worked alongside principal investigator Nitika Pant Pai, MD, PhD, an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine. Researchers found that people who did not complete postsecondary education were 82% more likely to be infected with HIV compared to those with a postsecondary education. Women with lower levels of education were more likely to engage in having sex with multiple partners, where male participants who were living in less stable housing situations or who had lower levels of education were less likely to have recently sought testing. “It appeared that socioeconomic factors impacted their utilization of HIV services,” Leung Soo said.

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